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Why Japan can not get out of the care of the US

Why Japan can not get out of the care of the US

23 May 2018
Tags: Japan, Politics, Nuclear weapons, USA, Russia, Analytics, International relations

"Japan is surrounded by countries with nuclear weapons. If they want to use it, do we have to wait for salvation from Russia? "Asked former Prime Minister of Japan Yoshiro Mori, Putin's longtime friend. Many in Tokyo really do not mind if you do not turn to Russia "for salvation," then reduce the relationship with the former enemy to "hikivake" - a draw. Is there a chance for Japan to turn from an "unsinkable US aircraft carrier" into an independent country?

Japan is forced to "follow" the United States, since Russia has no obligation to protect the Land of the Rising Sun from neighboring nuclear-weapon states. This was announced on Tuesday by the Japanese politician Yoshiro Mori, who served as prime minister in 2000-2001, but still remains a significant political figure.

Mori's words are all the more significant because he has been on friendly terms with Vladimir Putin since his premiership. Morei often met with the Russian president and mediated in his contacts with acting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, and in the resumption of normal relations with Tokyo as a whole.

Actually, during one of the meetings with Putin, last year in Yekaterinburg, Mori expressed the thesis, which he again quoted now. "Japan is surrounded by countries that possess nuclear weapons. If they want to use it, do we have to wait for salvation from Russia? Russia has no obligation to protect Japan, including because there is no peace treaty between our countries, "the retired prime minister said.

Why did Mori now decide to remind that Japan is only compelled to follow the States? Coincidentally or not, it was on Tuesday that Russia and Japan simultaneously notified the WTO about the response measures in the "trade war" with the United States. Recall also that 25-26 May, Shinzo Abe will visit Russia, during the 18 time during his premiership he will meet with Putin and will speak at the St. Petersburg Economic Forum for the first time.

Japan, which Yasuhiro Nakasone in the 80-ies called the "unsinkable aircraft carrier of the United States," is now apparently trying to get out of the tight American guardianship. Despite the "problem of the northern territories," in recent years, Japan has been dealing with Russia almost as the most independent of the countries dependent on the United States. In Tokyo, remember that even in 2012, Putin pointed to the need for the Kuril issue to look for "something like hikiwake" - a judo term denoting a draw.

However, the reorientation of Japan from Washington to Moscow must be treated soberly.

"Yoshiro Mori is a man who is distinguished by extraordinary statements," Valery Kistanov, head of the Center for Japanese Studies at the Institute of the Far East of the Russian Academy of Sciences, told the newspaper VIEW. - At one time, he proposed to solve the issue of the South Kuriles, simply dividing the islands. In the Soviet-Japanese declaration of 1956, which ended the state of war between the two countries, it was said: The USSR is ready to transfer the island of Shikotan and the Habomai ridge, but only after the conclusion of the peace treaty. And this is only 7% of the territory of the Southern Kuriles. Mori also proposed to "find a compromise" by dividing 50 into 50 - so that the border passes in the middle of the largest island, Iturup. " Immediately, the Japanese government said that this is nothing more than a personal opinion of Yoshiro Mori.

The perception of Russia in Japanese society is rather negative. Judging by the opinion polls, our country is not sympathetic to 17% of Japanese and 80% is negative; the attitude to the US is exactly the opposite - almost 85% sympathize with the former enemy and only 13,5% are antipathy. And although the Japanese ruling circles do not view Russia as a threat, the inertia of the Cold War is difficult to reverse.

"In the Japanese doctrinal documents during the Cold War, the Soviet Union was positioned as a threat number one. There was such a stable expression "soren kyiron" - "Soviet threat". When the Soviet Union collapsed, this phrase disappeared from the Japanese documents, and another term came to replace it, "the clay kyiron" - "the Chinese threat," Valery Kistanov said. He stressed: it is China that is considered the main threat to Japan in the sphere of security, considering both the territorial dispute and the perception of the past. Japan is very concerned about the buildup of Chinese military power, the aggressive and offensive policies of the PRC on the seas and oceans. "As the only defender against the Chinese threat, and at the same time from the nuclear missile threat from Pyongyang, Japan sees only the United States," Kistanov stressed.

While Japan fears China and not Russia, it continues to be an outpost of the US in the confrontation with Moscow. "The security treaty of the year 1960 continues to improve qualitatively and quantitatively. Although after the collapse of the Soviet Union, we had timid hopes for his denunciation or at least that his character would be less aggressive and offensive, Kistanov notes. - An example is the deployment in Japan of elements of an American missile defense system, along with South Korea. Now the Aegis Ashore land defense complexes should be deployed in the south and the north of Japan, and in the north - in Akita Prefecture, near the Russian borders. "

"The desire to get out of too much guardianship of the US was present and present in Japan. The founders of the doctrine of the military-political alliance with the United States believed: the time will come when Japan, having accumulated its strength, will leave the care of the Americans. But while this does not happen for various reasons, "commented Professor of MGIMO, former Ambassador to Japan Alexander Panov in a comment to the newspaper VZGLYAD. Among such reasons, for example, is the deeply rooted pro-American lobby. Many Japanese politicians simply do not see an alternative to an alliance with the US, Panov said. Among those who advocated the manifestation of greater independence by Japan was Prime Minister Yukio Hatoyama, but "his fate turned out to be rather sad."

"This is a very vivid example," said japanist Valery Kistanov. - Yukio Hatoyama is the grandson of Ichiro Hatoyama, the prime minister who signed the 1956 declaration. Yukio Hatoyama is considered not as a pro-Russian politician, but positively related to Russia, the continuer of his grandfather. " It is significant that retired Prime Minister of Japan Hatoyama became the first foreign politician of such rank to visit Crimea after 2014 year. He also urged the incumbent Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to review relations with Moscow and lift the sanctions. Kistanov says:

"Hatoyama, becoming the prime minister in 2009 year, spoke about the need to distance himself from the United States, it is necessary to draw closer to China and Russia. He also said that American bases should be taken outside Okinawa, and even generally outside of Japan. And what? He stayed in the prime minister's chair for less than a year. "

Only a year he was prime minister and Yoshiro Mori. Clearly, it is not in the interests of the United States to lose Okinawa, where 75% of bases are concentrated in the country, where it is convenient to "get" both China and the Korean Peninsula. "Local officials at the level of the governor of Okinawa demanded to ease the burden of the US presence. But nothing happened - the Tokyo authorities together with the Americans pressed on the local population, "Kistanov said.

Is it possible to say that the supporters of Japan's sovereignization have no chance of success? According to experts, there is no chance for those who are trying to act on the forehead. "Therefore, Abe acts quite differently," notes Alexander Panov. "On the one hand, he demonstrates his full commitment to an alliance with the United States, and on the other hand he conducts an independent course in a number of significant areas." For example, "Barack Obama very much did not trust Abe, in America they believed that it was a revisionist who would review the constitution and allied relations with the United States." But Abe managed to convince the US that this is not so. They now have quite a decent relationship with Trump, Panov said. Trump, for example, did not object to Abe's decision to develop relations with Russia. At the same time, the US clearly does not intend to release Japan from its custody and, according to Panov, fear that independent Japanese will begin to develop offensive weapons.

Michael Moshkin
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